The Boston Celtics have had an offseason made of nightmares, but still seem to be set up well for the future. They have all of their young talent and a few draft picks left in the war chest, and with the departures of Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, they’ll have some cap space to make things interesting.
And make things interesting they shall. Marc Stein reports Boston has emerged as a “stealth suitor” for the superstar point guard.
After sending off Aron Baynes on draft night, the team projects to have about $30 million in space if they renounce all of their free agents. This gives them the space to pursue a max free agent, should they choose. Walker would fill the most obvious hole at point guard in the team, given Irving’s expected departure and the unknown future of Terry Rozier. Brad Stevens successfully designed an offense around another undersized point in Isaiah Thomas, so Walker’s defensive deficiencies wouldn’t be a new challenge, and he’s better than Thomas around the rim.
Still, even with a Walker signing, the Celtics are treading water, barring an unexpected leap to stardom from either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum. After using all of their draft picks in this year’s draft, many believed the Celtics were back to kicking the can down the road and waiting for Tatum and Brown to develop into the elite players the franchise believes they can be. A Walker addition would tie up their cap for the next four years in an undersized point guard in his 30s, and wouldn’t make them a significantly better team .
The Celtics would be playoff contenders, but it would be hard to see them as legitimate threats to win the East unless they added someone with Walker. Maybe Danny Ainge has another one of his grand plans in his back pocket that no one will see coming. Regardless, Walker isn’t the final move to make the C’s title contenders. It’s only the first, and the steps that would follow remain unclear.